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MY FEMALE HERITAGE
”I sat down at the round table, felt the smell of coffee and the heat from the coffee cup. I felt safe. We can talk about everything here.”
The women's role were for a long time to take care of home and children while their husband had a paid job. As women we have a legacy that goes way back. The legacy to take more responsibility in the home, take more responsibility to make the everyday life working. I, for example, learned more "feminine work" like baking, washing and mending socks when I was a child. I have realised that it was my role as a woman that was the only reason I was taught these chores.
I discovered quite early the symbolic value of the coffee cup for my female relatives.
In the past, time for coffee meant a break, when the woman could sit down, rest her body and relax from the domestic work for a while. For my grandmother this is still an important part of her everyday life and consists of "eleven-refreshments" and "three-coffee." It was also a way to socialise through "kafferep" or to invite the next door neighbour. The coffee cup is also important in my way of socialising today.
During my childhood I was taught crochet, knit, embroider and other types of handicrafts of my two grandmothers and my great-grandmother. It was also a way for us to hang out. It was not unusual for women that handicraft was their only hobby. It was also another place where she could sit down and rest her body from the work at home.
In my art project, I discovered that the traditional craftsmanship are important to me and is a big part of my artistry. It was in craft techniques most cups was made without me thinking about it. In consideration, I realised how much I actually learned in craftsmanship from my female relatives. It's something I really want to pass on. On the other hand, I want to be aware of the problem how women actually had it before and how it looks today, how our roles were and are distributed and how much of the typical female heritage I carry with me. It's something I constantly have to be aware of, and not want to pass on.
Coffee cup and craftsmanship have for me one common thing: belonging. Both the coffee cup and craftsmanship has socialised many women before. That is also how I, as a woman in the family, had the luxury to spend time alone with both my grandmothers. The coffee cup and craftsmanship created an exclusion to my brother and my male relatives, but it tied us women together. Here I was respected. I felt affiliation.
To portray my project, I made coffee cups in various craft techniques. I have worked with materials that relate to the female body, and which is a part of my female heritage. All coffee cups representing conversations that I had wished that my generation, past and future would have, if they were to meet for a cup of coffee. Conversations which I think is important to have - conversations about what legacy we actually have.
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